March 21, 2011
Democratic Revolution Threatens Christians in Egypt
Dear Friends and Partners,
Here at One Free World International our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Japan at this time of national emergency. As we watch the devastating images continue to pour in, however, we cannot forget our brothers and sisters in North Africa and the Middle East where the political and security situation in countries like Libya, Côte d’Ivoire, Yemen, and Bahrain, to name only a few, remains volatile.
With all this news it seems like a lifetime since the amazing events in Egypt unfolded before our eyes only a few short weeks ago. The international media has moved on from Egypt as President Mubarak stepped down and as the crisis has been overshadowed by events elsewhere, with reporters and analysts generally portraying these developments as a triumph for democracy and moderate Islam. On the ground, however, the situation is not nearly so clear-cut.
There have been numerous attacks against Christians and Christian institutions in the weeks since the revolts began, including since the Egyptian army assumed control from President Mubarak. In fact, attacks against two monasteries on February 23, 2011 were both carried out by the army itself. It used small arms, heavy machine guns, and armoured personnel carriers to destroy protective walls around the monasteries and attack the inhabitants. At the Anba Bishoy monastery in Wadi al-Natroun (110 km north of Cairo), one monk and six church workers were shot and wounded and at the Anba Makarious Al Sakandarie Monastery in Al Fayoum (130 km southwest of Cairo), soldiers broke into the monastery and beat some of the Christians in the compound. These attacks were intended to harass and threaten the Christian community, using as an excuse the claim that the monasteries did not have permits for the walls which had been built to protect against raiders and criminals.
Other attacks have been carried out by civilians. On March 4, 2011, a Muslim mob looted a local church in Sool (35 km south of Cairo), desecrated remains found in the church, and burned it down almost killing a priest in the process. The mob had been egged on at Friday prayers by a local imam who had called for congregants to “kill all the Christians” stating that they had “no right” to live in the area. When the fire died down the next day, the mob destroyed the remainder of the church and prayed on the ruins, pledging to build a mosque on the site. Others blockaded the village vowing to turn it into a Muslim town. Many Christians have fled but women who remain in the area report that they have been sexually assaulted.
Thousands of Christians demonstrated in Cairo in the days following the Sool attack, demanding protection and recognition of the persecution. On March 9, 2011 the protests turned violent as a Muslim mob attacked the Christian demonstrators. Thirteen Christians died and 140 were wounded in the ensuing violence as security forces and the army stood by and watched.
Democracy may have triumphed in Egypt over the last several weeks, but that in itself may be the greatest threat to the Christians and other minorities as well as for neighbouring Israel. Muslim extremists have kept a low profile but the majority of Egyptian Muslims support the imposition of Shariah law. As a result, when elections are held to normalize the situation, Muslim extremists stand poised to assume power “legitimately”. The ability of western countries to object to such a result, and with it the security of over 10 million minority Egyptians, can be seriously compromised if our leaders do not take a strong stand for true democracy and against fascist extremist forces from the start.
Egyptian authorities must recognize the persecution of Christians in the country and provide adequate security to the Christian community. Our western governments must demand nothing less from the current military authorities or from any future government and they must ensure that the process of establishing a permanent government does not provide a means for Muslim extremists to gain control of the country. Stand with us – the future of Egypt and its minorities is at stake.
• for safety and courage for the Christians in Egypt, that they would stay strong in the midst of this turmoil and be protected from extremists trying to take advantage of the situation and that they would be able to show the love of Christ to their Muslim neighbours and co-workers; • for the people of Egypt and their leaders, that they would be able to take their country through an orderly and peaceful transition to freedom and a true democracy that respects the human rights of all Egyptians and that Muslim extremists would not be able to strengthen their positions; and, • for the western and world leaders, that they would have the wisdom to respond appropriately and maintain a strong stand for truth, peace, and human rights in Egypt, to take it peacefully into a new era that would bring freedom, equality, and prosperity to all of its people.
The Bible teaches that faith without action is dead, so please take action urgently and write (contact details are included below):
• to your prime minister and foreign minister or president and secretary of state, urging them not to turn their attention away from Egypt and demanding that they push for the protection of Christians and other minorities through this transition time and ensure that any process developed to determine the future government of the country will not enable Muslim extremists to assume power or strengthen their positions; and,
• to the Egyptian representative in your country, demanding that authorities respect international human rights standards and ensure the safety and equal rights of Egypt’s Christian and other minorities throughout this transition time and stop all harassment and intimidation of Christians; demand also that they ensure that Muslim extremists will not be able to take advantage of this situation in order to take control of the country.
Please remember to send us a copy of your correspondence at: firstname.lastname@example.org Remember that the persecuted Christians are dying every day, but they are still smiling. They are in a very deep dark night, but they have the candle of the Lord. The enemy can have a very strong weapon and a very strong army, but we have the Lord Almighty.
”They can kill the dreamer, but they cannot kill the dream” in the Lord’s name.
Be with God and may God be with you.
Rev. Majed El Shafie
President and Founder
One Free World International El Shafie Ministries